Some Jerk Stole Neil Armstrongs Gold Lunar Module Replica
Tune In As Brad Pitt Speaks With NASA Astronaut on ISSNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend Stay on target Thieves stole a solid gold replica of NASA’s 1969 Lunar Excursion Module from an Ohio museum.Just before midnight on July 28, the Wapakoneta Police Department responded to a burglary alarm at the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum.The robbers somehow gained entry to the building, and managed to walk away with a priceless artifact.“This piece is very rare as it was presented to Neil Armstrong in Paris … shortly after the moon landing,” Chief of Police Russel Hunlock said in a statement.One facsimile module was made by French luxury designer Cartier for each of the three astronauts who completed the Apollo 11 mission: Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Armstrong—the first person to set foot on the moon.“A value of such an item cannot be determined,” Hunlock said.Don’t expect to see the poached module up for auction on eBay: Whoever snatched the 5-inch collectible likely intends to melt it down for gold, instead of attempting to sell it.According to Joseph Gutheinz Jr., a Texas attorney and retired federal agent with NASA, there is also an Apollo 11 moon rock in the museum that would be worth millions to a connoisseur. So why not snag the boulder?“Either they didn’t have easy access to the moon rock, or they weren’t into collectibles,” Gutheinz told the Associated Press. “They were into turning a quick buck.”Liquefying the gilded replica would certainly make the jobs of the Wapakoneta PD, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and FBI a lot harder. To quote Gutheinz, it would be a “damn shame” if the punks get away with this.“The Cartier Lunar Landing model has tremendous historic value; tells the story of humanity’s path to and return from the moon,” museum Executive Director Chris Burton told Geek in an email. “The exhibit showcased priceless artifacts that illustrated the international response to the Apollo 11 explorer’s mission. This wasn’t just an American accomplishment; it was an accomplishment for the entire world.“That was the message of this exhibit,” he continued. “The whole world celebrated with Neil, Michael, and Buzz. It is incredibly disappointing that someone would rob the world of this unique object.”An advisory broadcast Saturday on the Wapakoneta Police Department’s Facebook page garnered various reactions, from angry and sad to surprised. (One person crudely responded with the laughing emoji.)“That’s so wrong. Hope they find it and get the person or persons that did it,” user Cherri McNeal wrote in a comment.Many agreed, while others suggested this “had to be an inside job.”“Their alarm system has tear gas canisters involved,” according to Angela Fisher Horn. “And it’s not like there’s a bazillion ways in that place.”“That’s not something that would be easy to move,” Facebooker Matt Smith wrote of the theft. “It was either someone who planned on melting it down for the gold value or a job for a SERIOUS space enthusiast who is also some sort of evil super villain.”(I know it’s wrong, but I’m actually rooting for the latter.)Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Aug. 8 with comment from the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.